Advocates Reach Out With the Good News, the

Not-So-Good News and the Bad News


November 30, 2012

 

The Transportation Advocates of Texas are stressing that while there is some Good News about transportation, that news is being overshadowed by the Bad News of decaying pavement, congestion and declines in dedicated highway funding. The facts have been distilled into a simple summary sheet that makes the case for wisely addressing sustainable highway funding.

 

THE GOOD NEWS

 

Texas is No. 1 - CNBC ranked Texas best place to do business - partially because of our transportation infrastructure.

 

Strong Foundation - Our highway system still ranks high and TxDOT is squeezing lots of projects out of existing revenues and debt authority.

 

P3s Deliver - Locally requested public-private partnership (P3s) projects are moving foward including SH 99, US 290, LBJ Express, North Tarrant Express, DFW Connector and MoPac.

 

More Bank for Our Bucks - One-time cost savings due to extremely competitive bidding has provided funds that allowed other projects to move forward.

 

THE NOT SO GOOD NEWS

 

Texas is Not Keeping Up With Demand - 1,000 more vehicles are added to the state's highway and streets EVERY DAY - 30,000 more every month.

 

Pavement Decay - Texas is not protecting our investment with adequate highway maintenance. By 2025 only 21% of the system will be "good" or "better" based on current funding levels.

 

No Match for Growth - Total miles traveled and population growth far exceed the growth in new highway capacity.

 

THE BAD NEWS

 

The Shrinking Gas Tax Blues - The tax on gasoline and diesel, a major source of revenue, has not been raised in more than 20 years and inflation has reduced its purchasing power by 40%.

THE CREDIT CARD IS MAXED - For the past few years many of our new capacity highway projects have been funded [1] by private sector debt borrowed against toll revenue and [2] by state debt borrowed against fuel taxes and general revenue. We do not have authority to issue more debt.

We are spending more than $1 billion a year from fuel taxes to service voter-approved bond debt on roads that are already in service. When the $7 billion in contracts are awarded in 2013 the state’s approved borrowing capacity for highway projects will be exhausted. The 2030 Committee concluded that we need at least $6 billion a year for construction and maintenance just to maintain the “minimum acceptable system.” There will be a shortfall of more than $3 billion a year for needed future projects.

 

RELIABLE AND SUSTAINABLE FUNDING - We need to establish a source of funding that is consistently reliable and which grows with the state.  This new transportation funding must be solely dedicated to the state highway system.

 

The TAoT concludes that unless Texas finds a reliable and sustainable means of financing transportation the state faces a rough road ahead.

 

TAoT Board Chairman Jim Reed of San Antonio made all of these points during a presentation to the Texas Municipal League's annual conference on November 15th.